Taking Multiple Medications Can Put You at Risk for Drug Interactions

Older man holding white pills
Image Source: iStock.com/Neustockimages

Taking multiple medications can be overwhelming. Some medications need to be taken with food while others need to be taken in the evening. It can become ever more complex with the fear of drug interactions involved. While most interactions are usually not life-threatening, some mixtures of medications can lead to serious – and even fatal – consequences.1 It’s important to talk with your doctor and pharmacist about your current medication regimen to help avoid any possible reactions.

The more medications you take, the higher the risk

The more medications a patient takes, the higher the risk that drugs will interact with each other. According to drugwatch.com, the drug-interaction risks are:

Drug Interactions_drugwatch.com.png2

A recent study from the University of Illinois at Chicago also concluded that children taking multiple medications are also at risk for drug interactions. “Among those using multiple medications, one in 12 was at risk for a major drug interaction, and the vast majority of these potential interactions involved antidepressants.”3

Drug Interaction Types

There are four main types of drug interactions:

  1. Drug-Drug Interactions
  2. Drug-Food/Beverage Interactions
  3. Drug-Condition Interactions
  4. Drug-Supplement Interactions

Simple steps to avoid drug interactions

  • Talk with your doctor and pharmacist about any new medications. Make sure they know about any vitamins and supplements you are currently taking.
  • Follow all the dosing instructions listed on each of your medications.
  • Keep an updated medication list on hand for any of your medical appointments.
  • You can also use AARP’s online drug interaction checker

Tria Health can help

If Tria Health is offered through your benefits plan, you have the option of receiving a one-on-one private consultation with one of Tria Health’s pharmacists over the phone. During your consultation, your pharmacist will review all your current medications, including vitamins and supplements. Tria Health will assist you in identifying any possible drug interactions or savings opportunities!

 

Have any questions for us?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

 

Source:

  1. https://www.drugs.com/article/preventing-drug-interactions.html
  2. https://www.drugwatch.com/health/drug-interactions/
  3. University of Illinois at Chicago Study

Medication Safety Tips – Keep Your Kids Safe

Kid holding rainbow peanut M&Ms
Image Source: Patrick Fore/Unsplash

If you take multiple medications, it can be a huge ordeal to keep track of everything; Whether you need to take them in the morning or evening, what your dosage is or if you need to take them with a meal. Medication management can get even more challenging if you have children in your household. It’s important to not only safely store your medicine but also know how to talk to your kids about medication safety.

Medication Storage1

While most parents know to store medicine in a high cabinet or an unreachable location, it’s important not to forget that there are products you might not immediately consider to be medicine, such as vitamins, eye drops, or foot cream, but they still need to be stored in a secure location.

It’s also important to be alert to visitors’ medicine. If you have a friend or family member staying with you, be sure to check and make sure all their personal belongings are stored in a safe location.

Get Rid of Medicine Safely

When cleaning out your medicine cabinet, make sure you dispose of them properly. Avoid throwing them away in the trash or even flushing them down the toilet. The best method of getting rid of unused medicine is finding a local drug take back program. You can find a location HERE.

Talking to Your Kids

It’s important to educate children about proper medication use. Here are a few tips from safekids.org regarding what to discuss with your children:

  1. Teach your child that medicine should always be given by an adult. It’s important for kids to know that they should not take medicine on their own. Parents and caregivers can help make sure they are taking it correctly.
  2. Don’t refer to medicine as candy. While saying medicine is candy may make it easier to get your child to take medicine, it may encourage them to try it on their own.
  3. Model responsible medication behavior. What kids see us doing is a much stronger message than what we tell them to do. Make sure to store medicine out of reach of children, read drug facts and prescription labels before taking medicine and follow the recommended dose.

 

If you have any additional questions regarding your medications,

reach out to the Tria Health Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742

 

Source: https://www.safekids.org/medicine-safety-families

Keep Yourself and Your Medications Safe This Winter

In extreme winter weather conditions, your friends at Tria Health want to provide you with some tips to keep yourselves and your medications safe this winter.

Medication Storage Is Important for Safety

Most medications should be stored at room temperature (between 68 and 77 degrees Farenheit). However, some medications have specific storage instructions and most perscription and over-the-counter medications come with inserts that detail safety and storage guidelines.

There are commonly perscribed medications that require specific storage requirements. Some examples include:

  • Injectable drugs
  • Inhaled medications
  • Eye Drops
  • Nasal Sprays
  • Gels and Creams

For information on storage requirements for these, and many other medications, you may visit the National Institue of Health drug information website.

When Medications Aren’t Stored Properly They Can Lose Effectiveness

Prescriptions that are subjected to extreme cold (or hot) temperatures can lose their effectiveness before their expiration date. For this reason, you should always take necessary precautions to avoid storing medications in the car, on a windowsill or in a garage. You should also be aware that many medications can also be affected by exposure to direct sunlight.

There are Signs to Determine if Medications Have Been Exposed to Extreme Temperatures

In some cases, you will be able to recognize when your medications have been exposed to extreme temperatures. However, a medication may or may not show outward signs of temparture damage. Should you notice any of these signs, you should contact your Pharmacist:

  • Strange odor
  • Discoloration
  • Harder or softer to the touch
  • Pills that are cracked, chipped or stuck together
  • Creams that appear seperated
  • Insulin (or other injectables) with visible “crystals”

Pharmacists Will Almost Always Have the Right Answer!

The best response if you feel your medications may have been comprimised is to talk to your Pharmacist—or a Tria Health Pharmacist, if you’re one of our members. A pharmacist will be able to tell you wheter the medication efficacy has been comprimised—and should even be able to help you order a replacement prescription.

October is National Pharmacist Month!

As experts in medications, pharmacists provide important guidance to patients and physicians to promote safe, effective and affordable medication use. Tria Health believes pharmacists are an integral part of every patient’s health care team.  This month we celebrate our talented pharmacy team and encourage our community to “Know Your Pharmacists, Know Your Medicine.”

8 Important Questions to Ask Your Pharmacist:

  1. What is this medication used for?
  2. How should I use this medication?
  3. What should I do if I miss a dose?
  4. When will the medicine begin to work?
  5. How will I know if the medicine is working?
  6. What side effects should I watch for?
  7. Is there anything I should avoid while taking this medication?
  8. How should I store this medication?